A review into allegations of abuse within British Gymnastics has received information from almost 400 people.
In total, 126 submissions to the Whyte Review were made by current or former gymnasts, while others were made by individuals including parents and current or former coaches.
An interim report says that 90 clubs and 100 coaches have been identified in the information received.
The Whyte Review has so far made 39 referrals to the police.
In the interim report, Anne Whyte QC said re-occurring issues raised in the information submitted included “bullying, belittling, extreme weight management, regular over-stretching, use of excessive physical force, training on serious injuries, gas-lighting, coercive control and a reluctance to raise complaints/lack of opportunity to do so”.
She added many of the individuals who submitted information have been “significantly impacted” by their experiences and “find it challenging to recount difficult and sometimes traumatic experiences”.
The report also said:
- In the five years prior to July 2020, British Gymnastics received an average of around 300 complaints per year.
- British Gymnastics estimates there were up to 3,500 closed complaints for the period 2008 to 2020.
- 2,500 of those are yet to reviewed by British Gymnastics in order to provide information to the Whyte Review.
- There are currently 327 open complaints, most of which were received in the second half of 2020.
The Whyte Review – which formally started in August 2020 – received 272 submissions directly, with a further 118 separate submissions received via the British Athletes Commission (BAC) through a joint hotline set up with the NSPCC.
Alastair Marks, who became British Gymnastics’ interim chief executive in January following the retirement of Jane Allen, said: “I remain appalled by the claims I have heard and alarmed that some gymnasts do not feel that they can have their voice heard and have a future within the sport.
“I want to be clear to them that I will fight to ensure that no one raising concerns will ever see their gymnastic opportunities detrimentally impacted.
“There is no place for abuse in our sport and we are determined and committed to change it for the better.”
A statement from the BAC said: “It remains vitally important to highlight and commend the courage shown by individuals who have reported their experiences to the Whyte Review.
“We are hopeful that the finalised Whyte Review can acknowledge that courage by ensuring that gymnastics is made a safer, more welcoming and more transparent environment, and by unequivocally reinforcing the fact that safeguarding breaches in sport are investigated appropriately and thoroughly, and treated with the utmost importance.”
Michelle North, head of the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit, said the interim report “paints a worrying picture” while Gymnasts For Change said the number of submissions “speak for themselves”.
The full report by the Whyte Review is expected to be complete by the end of August 2021.